Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye, Godbless, Goodnight- 2008

2008 will go down as a year of extreme highs and lows. It's telling that this morning Ben was naming all his friends at school and told if they were "pooping or not". A highlight of the year has been his language explosion as I was a little concerned early in the year. So in typical fashion here's the short list:

Lows- Being worried about my mom, insulin issues for myself, Motricity's downturn and an IPO that never materialized, 2 bouts with mild month-long depression, still didn't loose the 25 pounds from my first year as a mom, not knowing if I want to stay in teaching, major losses in our 401k and investments, missing the market to sell our house.

Highs- Ben's development into a little boy, another stable year of marriage, Bill's move to Microsoft, AP Government, Election 2008 in general, faithfully working out 3-4 a week, trips to FL and SC to see family, 3 beach trips, adult friendships, making date nights a regular thing, returning to reading more books for fun not school, NCCAT trips, being published with DPI and our local paper with school achievement, making the time for therapy, not spending as much time at home on grading and parent emails/contacts, keeping this blog going for myself, a festive Holiday season 2008 including a great trip to Atlanta

Wishing everyone peace and joy in 2009

To JBH at 8:11 pm- I get my answer everyday so I know you heard me- love h

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hotlanta!

Wow did we pack alot into 5 days and 800 miles! As Bill and I were driving home last night I mentioned that the whole trip was relaxed. I think we made the best use of time and picked activities that gave us the most bang for our buck. So here goes a photo diary of our trip:
Opening gifts at Mema's house in South Carolina with Uncle Brian

Uncle Brian giving Ben the claw and a JBH "smeefin"

Happiness is in Mema's lap with a book by the fire (ok No fire this year as it was almost 70 on Christmas day)
On to Atlanta to Dave and Busters for dinner and games with Grandmommy Pam and Uncle Jamie (aka Mini-Bill). Ben decided to roll the skee-balls down other people's lanes. The most famous thing in Bill's hometown of Smyrna is the Original KFC with the Big Chicken landmark.

Fun on the MARTA subway to the Georgia Aquarium. Other subway riders were none to thrilled at Ben's train noises and motions for the entire trip.

Heather felt the need to stop and drool at her man candy outside CNN

I LOVE this picture in front of the Barrier Reef Tanks

Family Reunion time at the McGreaham's home in Roswell. Big family picture to come from Aunt Lynn as soon as she gets home.

Time for holiday lights at a local Atlanta display that also had a petting zoo and pony rides. Ben was scared of both, but wanted to talk about them and tell them good bye repeatedly.

I tried to get Ben to hold the bear for this photo but he refused, so Mommy held it instead


Really Awesome lights!!!!!

Sunday and a trip to Lenox Mall where the "Pink Pig" had moved from it's home in downtown Atlanta to Macy's in the Buckhead area suburb. This is an Evans (Bill's family) tradition dating back to the 1950's to ride each holiday season. I did ask Pam for a picture of Bill for a future side-by-side. More shopping and a nice dinner followed before Pam and James had to leave.

Last day and we are headed to 2 stores before splitting town:

IKEA for mommy (and daddy too)


and Fry's Electronics for Bill


Final dinner with Mema and Brian at Cracker Barrel in Easley, SC on our way home. You know you are from a small town when before you get your food 3 sets of people you grew up come by to visit.

All in all it was a great trip to see family and celebrate the holidays. Ben was mostly well behaved, loved the hotel pool, sleeping in his sleeping bag, playing with cousin Gray's baby toys, got lots of new toys, games, puzzles, and even a little computer (to Bill's happiness that Ben loved).

Onto April 2009 where our Destin road trip is already being planned!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas-Vinson Style

We decided to leave on our trip to Atlanta via South Carolina in the morning and have a nice Christmas Eve family night. We feasted on grilled steaks, loaded baked potatoes, and creamed spinach for dinner after the 5 pm service at our church and some light viewing around town.


I really hate the song "the 12 Days of Christmas" along with the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". I know I should be burned at the Christmas stake but we will likely turn on Bad Santa, a my type of Christmas movie followed by mandatory viewing of "A Christmas Story" once Ben is in bed. So to prove that I am not without Christmas cheer here's my own version of the ever famous and never ending song.


On the 1st day of Christmas my family gave to me- A jam-packed festive season
on the 2nd day of Christmas my family gave to me- 23 Chrismas books read by the tree
On the 3rd day of Christmas my family gave to me- Pink phallic shaped cookies
On the 4th day of Chrismas my family gave to me- 2 Christmas crafts made with Ben for grandmoms
On the 5th day of Christmas my family gave to me- A fun date night for sushi and Quantum of Solace with the Pressleys sans the kids.
On the 6th day of Christmas my family gave to me- Getting caught up on This American Life while cooking up piles of holiday goodies
On the 7th day of christmas my family gave to me- The great reveal of the green bed
On the 8th day of Christmas my family gave to me- Awesome family photo cards with our 2008 countdown
On the 9th day of Christmas my family gave to me- Watching our favorite kids Christmas shows with Ben with eyes of wonder
On the 10th day of Christmas my family gave to me- Special family ornaments dating back to 1975 made by my mom
On the 11th day of christmas my family gave to me- Peace and quiet to practice yoga, read, write, and watch a Six Feet Under Marathon
On the 12th day of Christmas 2008 my family gave to me- A more positive diagnosis for my mom, a new job for my brother, another year of marriage to my appendage, a trip to see Grandmommy Pam and MeMaw, and most of all unconditional love from my family.

Merry Christmas to All
May Peace and Grace find you this season


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

File that under Christmas 2009, 2010, 2011...


One of the things I want to remember this holiday are all the great ideas I have read, heard, or seen in action that I want to include for future years. Number 3 is of my own imagination I'm proud to say.

1. Make a Santa Sleigh Landing Strip using a string of blinking lights and cardboard. Kids get to decorate and pretend Santa is landing with their gifts.

2. Make salt dough ornaments using this recipe. Use food coloring in the dough to avoid the painting step.

3. Create the 12 days of crafts leading up to the big day and have a art walk to display complete with fancy kid drinks and treats for your guests.

4. Make a pan of rice crispy treats and cut using holiday cookie cutters. Decorate with sprinkles and candy (nice alternative to cookies)

5. Christmas shirts using felt, hot glue, and bag o' sparkles- this one I did after my iron on transfer didn't work. I am in the process of making a snowman for January and likely hearts for Feb. I hope I can stop myself and not make 12 shirts.

6. Participating in a cookie swap gives you a ton of cookies for guests, coworkers, family without all the work.

7. Make Stocking Countdown Calendar next year Family Fun Magazine is a favorite, but I discovered all these cool online projects at thier site today.

8. Take time to write each year in the Advent book I made by hand at a NCCAT seminar last year. The book has four internal hand folded envelopes, each with an advent themes of Love, Peace, Joy, Hope, and Christ. Within each envelope is a hand bound book on which I can record the next 20 years of Christmas in our home.
It took almost 17 hours to make the book, sew the bindings and envelopes. Of all my crafy-crafiness it is one of my most proud achievements. So tommorrow in keeping with my own tradition I will put on some Windham Hill and write about this very special holiday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

'Twas the Night before Christmas


Better make that the DAYS before Christmas and all through Casa Vinson not a creature was stirring except Santa with train table in tow.

Come Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen and watch and Heather and Bill drop half of the table down the steps to get it all in place for morning reveal.

How they have planned this great surprise while Ben was snuggled safe in his bed with dreams of firetrucks dancing in his head.

Check out Bill's Video of the great "green bed" reveal.

It was an awesome parenting feat to say the least.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Overdue to Read More

Last night was my neighborhood book club. I was invited to join this group 5 years ago shortly after we moved into our house and it was a welcome invitation of friendship with new neighbors. This year I am really proud that of our 12 books I read 7 of them. I found time to read 8 other non-book club books. I kinda got a on an Augusten Burroughs kick this summer and read 4 straight books of his and hope to read his other 3 in 2009. Here's my total 2008 list starting with my personal choices first.

Team of Rivals
When you are Engulfed in Flames
Running with Scissors
Dry
Wolf at the Table
Sellavision
Feminine Mystique
Freakanomics- 3rd time

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Eat, Pray, Love
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Where the Red Fern Grows
The Birth House
World Without End
Alyas Babylon


My 2009 resolution is to read 10 of 12 books including my own choice The Glass Castle
as well as at least 9 other book club books as the books picked last night as almost all ones on my list to read. Plus I hope to read at least 8 other personal choice throughout the year. What are you reading in 2009?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Code for Hellion in 7.5 shoes

I got a thank you note from one of Ben's teachers yesterday for the giftbasket I had made her. In the note she referenced, Ben's "creative energy that encourages her".

Ok- as a fellow teacher I can read between the lines. My son is a wild hellion. Oh dear, this is not what I had hoped for this year. I think we are doing an OK job with discipline at home in being consistent and establishing rules.

In yesterday's John Rosemond's parenting column he talked about 6 ways to get you child ready for life. all were food for thought-

1. Put yourself at the center of your child's attention
2. Give your child a meaningful role (responsibilities) within the family- ben helps feed our dog, cleans up toys before bed, and hangs up his jacket nightly
3. Electronic media minimized until they can read and self entertain
4. Keep toys on the minimum side, low maintenance kids have fewer toys that they appreciate more (Bill read this one again)
5. Empathize manners over skills (Heather read his one again)
6. Love your child enough to raise a happy child.

well stated-

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How many years to accomplish it all?

I have been working on this list since Thanksgiving at the beach but I think it's appropriate with recent news on my mom to post it today. I really liked the idea from Laura and in my typical list making fashion I think I am going to laminate it and put in on my fridge. Since her #7 is my #10 I will add one more goal. I'm sorry to steal-

1. Live to be at least 10 years older than my dad and stave of a diabetes diagnosis as long as possible
2. Have the conversation with my kids about "when they knew their current partner was the ONE"
3. Grow our family by 2 feet before I'm 35
4. Take the final step from my weight loss and have reconstructive surgery
5. Own a top of the line, loaded Audi that I pay cash to purchase
6. Be in single digit clothes for life
7. Take our 10 year month-long anniversary trip across Europe that didn't happen due to Ben's birth
8. Plan and take an awesome family camping and rafting trip following the Lewis and Clark trail one summer (as well as see some major site in the West)
9. Move and live in the Pacific Northwest at some point of life-retirement?
10. Get a second masters degree possibly in public policy and work for an education policy think tank. Dream school would be the Kennedy School of Government-
11. See the Obama inauguration in person and know that Personal, Professional, and family change can happen when you work for it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

allusion of perfection

Do you think anyone noticed that I had to duct tape the toparies to the wall behind us to keep them from falling? Martha would have actually finished them unlike me who made them 2 years ago out of remnant decorations, but ran out of fruit to finish the backs of them, hence the tape. Is allusion of perfection the same as denial?

I think we were all too busy gorging ourselves on yummy food and swaping cookies to notice or care. This holiday is going down as a keeper. Between the Santa train, cookie making, Sunday Cantata at church that Ben actually sat through for 30full minutes, tonight's MNO party, tomorrow night the live Nativity, and Thursday Book club which is always a late, late night of too much wine December 2008 rocks.

Too bad come January it will be 12 long months until this much action packed festivities roll around.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You're Going Down Martha!


If the queen of domesticity saw the end result of these cookies (pink phallic shaped candy canes) then she would know her empire was safe.

With all due respect, Casa Vinson looks much in the spirit of the holidays. We made cookies as a family Saturday night and I made my usual trays of holiday goodies today(fudge, chess cake, sugar cookies, haystacks) for both Bill's work and mine. I also burned out my mixer on batch ONE of the holiday cooking so the rest had to be mixed by hand, taking oh so long.

We went to Pullen Park for the Santa Train and before Ben hit Bill in the face prompting us to leave, we had a good time. I did decide NOT to attempt the pre-fab gingerbread house, after ben kept making his own "cookies" out of the dough- I knew not to temp fate.

The coolest thing about Christmas 2008 is that Ben knows somthing is up. He seems completely enthralled to talk about Santa and Snowmen and loves all the outside decorations around town. Tonight I found him asleep clutching all the parts of this push Nativity scene my mom gave him and I thought if only to see the season as he does.

12+


"carry this day with you, as it will sustain you and remind you of your completeness"-12/14/1996

I don't remember who said it on that day, but how true a statment to have gotten us through the joys and sorrows of 12 years together. love you- h

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

JBH



Jack Bennett Hendricks 12/9/46-12/31/01

Happy 62nd Birthday. I hope you are eating Skins Hot dogs while listening to a never-ending Earth, Wind, and Fire concert to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

disposable nipple clamps



For some reason this was the funniest thing I heard at Lewis Black tonight. It was in reference to how we celebrate Earth Day. We had a great night seeing him again at a beautiful New Arts venue in Durham-DPAC.

Back when Ben was a tiny baby Lewis Black did a book signing at Barnes and Noble. Bill and I being the nut-job parents we were that summer decided to take Ben everywhere. This was when he was portable and not able to say no 90 billion times a day. Needless to say we got some stares, but since consistently Bill and I have enjoyed seeing comedians in all the places we have lived and visited it seemed fitting to take our son at an early age.

I am going back to School tomorrow. Ben is going to do a 1/2 day too to ease back into his little schedule. He seems to be back to his normal self thankfully, although I did enjoy cuddling with him on the couch the past couple of days like days of yore.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving after Turkey day



Ben is MUCH better today. He has responded well to rest, fluids, and the meds from the ER. Bill took him to our peditrician and he thought he was making great progress. This was the best thanksgiving gift we could recieve, even if it didn't invovle turkey.

In general we had a great holiday at the beach. The weather was warm, beautiful for the majority of the trip. We walked on the beach, played and fed the ducks at the park, walked on the Pier, enjoyed the holiday lights at Arlie Gardens, sat on Santa's lap, swam in the indoor pool, visited the aquarium, Bill took Ben to see Bolt while I took a nap and finished a book.

We have enjoyed many trips to Kure beach as a family and this one was espeically fun. I am thankful for a beatiful place to spend with my family year after year. I worked on my list one morning while watching the sunrise over the ocean. Needless to say owning a beach home of our own one day to continue the Thanksgiving beach tradition with our kids and hopefully thier kids makes my list.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Don't promise an ambulance sighting or you will get 8 hours of hospital fun :-(


I think the Vinson family is carrying on the curse of the Hendricks family of seeing the inside of an Emergency Rooms related to vacations. I could write a book of all the ERs I went too seemingly always on vacation with my family.

Starting last night Ben was very lethargic, running fever, and in general all he wanted to do was lay on us while we watched Wall-e. We packed up and left Kure Beach early this morning and decided on the way home to take him to the Quick Med instead of waiting until morning for the Pediatrician to open. We thought he only had a bad cough and maybe the start of an ear infection. In the middle of unloading the car I got a frantic call from Bill saying "get up here now" Ben might have pneumonia.

It is never good when you pull up and an ambulance is sitting out front and a nurse is waiting for you at the door. "Oh God, it's that bad", I asked as she took me by the arm and lead me to the hall where Ben is on a stretcher. Bill visibly shaken by what has gone down in the last hour (IV antibiotics, bloodwork, chest X-rays). They take us by ambulance and directly into the Peds ER at Big Wake Med across town. On the ride over the EMT is telling me he might have to be admitted or at least it will be a late night while they run more tests. Surprisingly enough the EMT knew me from my old high school where she was a student. I am WAY too old!

We get there and true to form they run more tests. By 9 pm they are satisfied with Ben's progress and we won't have to stay the night. Ben was awesome! I don't know if it was being doped up or watching endless hours of the Thomas and Pooh videos they had in his room, but he did the best job of the 3 of us. It's funny that as he was pulling down the driveway I told Ben maybe he would get to see an ambulance while at the doctor, never mind ride in one before the day was out.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turkey in the Rec Room

I got back from my mom's just a bit ago. It was a good trip with much accomplished. My brother and I were talking last night about crazy family holidays of years past. This one from Thanksgiving 2001 is worth sharing. I am thankful that we proceeded with our plans despite it turning into a chapter from Running with Scissors.

It had started out as a good plan over the phone with my brother. The idea was to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner and then transport it to SC. It had been a really hard few months for our family. We were in the midst of a layoff post 9/11, I was a first year teacher, Brian was in his last semester of college, our sole remaining grandparent had been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, my dad had been in and out of the hospital with diabetes related illness over the year, and then on Nov 7th my mom had fallen over dad's wheelchair and broken her leg in two places. No one felt festive nor wanted to plan some giant meal of days of yore.

It seemed the right thing to do given all the miserable circumstances. So we planned in secret to surprise our families with a traditional meal at mom's rehab hospital.

I had arranged with the nurses to use the floor rec room for us to celebrate. Everyone was surprised we had pulled off Thanksgiving even if it was at a hospital. Then I started pulling out the food- or the lack therof. I had forgotten the Turkey as well as half of the food I had made along with the plates and utensils. Brian and I resorted to raiding the nurses kitchen and rounded out our meal with crackers, heat and eat soup, and ice cream.

It was the last time our family was together on a holiday and it was one of the best meals ever. I am thankful that all things considered that day jello never tasted so good.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Heather is.... Bill is....

It has been a long, long week. Both I and the majority of my freshmen students have hit a wall. I'm frustrated and tired of fighting the good fight.

On that note, greeting from Easley, South Carolina. Once again I have ventured south to the land of no shirt, no shoes, no problems. This weekend here is what I will be doing compared to Bill.

Heather- Drive to SC and back home(12 hours roundtrip), cook-a-thon to help my mom put back some freezer food, general help out and give my brother a much needed respite with cleaning and errands, potty training, attack a stack of scholarship letters to write for students, write test for AP, contact a bunch of parents of failing kids and document an action plan for each child. I have 21 of these to do before Thanksgiving.

Bill- go to see Zach and Mimi and to a bar with Matt Friday night, sleeping late and lounging on the couch by the fireplace, putting together: Ben's train table for Christmas, 2 step stools, a jumping thing my mom is giving Ben, sleeping in the afternoons, probably eating pizza, likely watching any of the following movies: Punisher, Serenity, or something involving the prerequisite sci-fi goo-pod,and likely staying up late playing video games.

He was awesome helping me get out the door for this quick trip and in general as gets best husband ever with events during the last couple of weeks at home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Put it on the To Do List

I am counting down the days until we leave for our Thanksgiving beach trip. In typical weekend fashion we stayed busy. I have started my weekend house chores when I get home on Friday from school so I don't spend most of Sunday night doing the load of laundry 'til midnight.

I met my AP kids on Saturday at a local university to work on their public policy project. Bill was gracious to watch Ben (and Cars for the millionth time). We met up with the Pressley family for dinner and 3 hours of boys under 6 chaos. Chrissy helped me bag and decorate the Webkins NHS is raffling off. I always show up at her house with a project in hand. I think my definition of true friendship involves going along with my hair-brained plans of perfection, even when you know I am nuts.

Sunday we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then to Southpoint mall for me to pick up the remaining items for a basket my BUNCO group is giving a friend as well as let Ben play in the kid zone. I also managed to get our hotel booked for our Christmas Atlanta trip, coordinated with Bill's mom about going to the GA Aquarium and King Tut exhibit while there as well as a unit on the Federal Budget planned for class.

What did I not do? I never manage to stay awake as soon as I sit down to watch TV with Bill. In typical fashion I was out before the Word of the Day on Colbert Report. Maybe I need to actually schedule relaxation on my daily to do list. How predictable would that be?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tales from the Little Potty- Vol 3

It has been a good potty week! Everyday Ben has gone at least once after asking to sit at school and home. This morning I awoke to a frantic "mommy go potty" on the monitor. Bill had mentioned that his nighttime diaper had not been soaked through most mornings this week but just wet. Ben marched into the kitchen and sat and filled up the potty! We had a monumental potty dance!

I had been thinking about using a little personal timer to latch onto his pants as an auditory reminder. Instead I found the following watch that you can set to go off as an alarm. I ordered it earlier this week and mentioned it to his teachers to possibily use once it comes. They agreed it will help remind Ben without them needing to remember among all the other potty-training kids. They too are being very supportive and are sending up a daily note for all the kids including potty progress. For what it was worth, talking to the Director accomplished exactly what I had hoped to. Update next week on using the watch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Don't drink the Kool-aid

I have a weird fascination with Jonestown. I remember watching the really bad made for TV movie with Powers Boothe as Jim Jones in Junior High. I made my mom take me to the library and checked out a book on the Peoples Temple. I also remember being intent on getting the librarian to help me find articles on the microfiche machine to read at home. I think she thought I was nuts.

My fascination is probably in part due to being raised in Southern Baptist household that instilled a healthy fear of cults. When I saw that a 2 hour special was coming on tonight on CNN called "Escape from Jonestown", I was all over it and dropped my typical Thursday night of watching CSI. As expected, my fascination is being quenched. I am the first to admit it is odd in some sick way. Want to weigh in?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Like I was suprised

I had the holiday off from school today and you would have thought that I would spend it relaxing at home. NOPE! In my typical "pack a week into a day" mindset I got the following done:

1. Slept in to see a 6 on my alarm clock
2. Relieved Bill from Ben am duty including taking him to school
3. Went to the dentist to have 2 cavities filled-ouch!
4. Worked out at the gym
5. Went by Micheals, AC Moore, Barnes and Nobel, and Kolhs
6. Took Vegas to the vet. They gave me a discount for our long wait (I didn't even have to ask)
7. Sorted shoes and clothes to be passed on to a friend and delivered them to her
8. Made 3 pans of homemade mac and cheese for the freezer
9. Picked up prescriptions at CVS and signed up for a prescription benefit club
10. Picked up ben in time to talk to both teachers. He had a great potty day :-)
11. Made dinner, unloaded the dishwasher, put up clean laundry, and played with play dough with Ben
12. Went to monthly Bunco with my neighbor and WON THE POT!

I ROCK and get the efficiency award today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dreams of Driving the Zebra Bus


Great weekend that didn't involve school work until now, so I am procrastinating.

We got together with Larry and Heather last night for dinner and a Settlers of Cattan rematch part 3 and I redeemed myself by pulling out a win from nowhere, sorry boys!

Today, we decided to head to the NC Zoo in Asheboro one more time before the weather turned cold. It was an absolutely beautiful fall day. We hit all the things we really wanted to see and hopped on the tram bypassing the rest. Having a family membership has really paid off. We have been 3 times this year plus we have been to all of the NC aquariums. Check out some of our pictures from the day as well as my "in depth" interview on the Zebra bus with Ben. Notice that his favorite thing is riding on the bus not the animals. Great weekend from start to finish!

Ben and Heather try to lift a baby sea lion from Waking Badger on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

E pluribus Unum- So possible!

Bill's post yesterday got me thinking about what I hope to see happen as the Obama administration takes office. It is so very telling what industries we work in as I read his list and now draft mine. Some similarities though:

1. Work with both domestic and foreign agencies to rebuild confidence in the global economic markets
2. Consider consumer bailouts for the consumer credit market and US automarket(not a forgiveness of debt, but a way to prevent further meltdown)
3. Make the first 100 days about implementing incremental change (passage of expansion of Children's Healthcare for example). If you get the public buy-in on something small, real change for bigger issues will be more attainable. Learn from the mistakes of Clinton 1st term
4. Pose real options for healthcare reform to allow more people to gain coverage
5. Work to ensure that families have reproductive choice
6. Work with Congress to overhaul No Child Left Behind. States need money if expected to comply. Everyone wants kids to succeed, don't tie our hands in red tape.
7. Restore US standing on the world stage (this is not a 1 term expectation, just the groundwork). Diplomacy is a sweet word!
8. Work to reduce troops overseas and evaluate where we truly need to be stationed
9. Lead the effort for the US to reduce greenhouse gases and curb global warning by pushing for alternative energy sources
10. Help us keep this feeling alive. Help us find common ground as parties as the next few years will truly test if change mantra can result in tangible, measurable results.

Our Gov't can't do this alone, this is a mandate for us all to step up to the plate and find individual ways to say "YES WE CAN, and WILL"

How did we do Tim?


It's over!!! Earlier than I predicted (and without calling bellweather Missouri and even NC), the Obama presidency begins. Wow! As I kissed ben tonight I said a prayer that in his lifetime he will benefit from what I hoped would happen tonight as millions of Americans voted for real change. Thanks Laura for the ongoing dialogue as we watched the states come in. Thanks Bill for watching beside me as well as my celebratoy flowers and Obama T-shirt you went ahead and got me last week.

So tim, did we get it right? Only the next 4 years will tell. How many times did I think about you today. Sad but true but it wasn't the same without you. I would have done anything to see you with whiteboard in hand doing the electoral math. Watching the celebrations around the world was awesome! oh so much good it to come. Just watch, and I know you are Tim :-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

V Day!


So at Casa Vinson today is a big day. this marks the FIRST time in a 14 year relationship that bill and I voted for the same candidate (I think for most any election, state or local either). We always have said it we could cancel each other out even on holly springs water commissioner, we would.

So today is V day (Voting day, Victory day, but it will also go down as Vinson Day)to mark the end of a long election season we were together for most of the way in our support of change and an end to the bush dynasty. Has bill seen the light? I doubt it, I don't think he is going to join me when I renew my teacher membership in the ACLU, but he has changed and no longer will only consider the Conservative choice for future elections and to be able to say that, that is REAL change!

I am taking the workday off to spend it with ben and bill. I cannot think of a better way to spend this personal holiday!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Providence

Greeting from NCCAT. As much as I wished that I could have been with Ben and Bill tonight to go trick o treating (video coming tomorrow), I cannot begin to say how much I needed this trip alone this weekend. An absolutely beautiful drive to the mountains in all the fall color glory complete with my audiobook Band of Rivals.

I got here in time to take a long walk around Western Carolina's campus before meeting the 20 fellow teachers that were also picked to particate over the next 2 years (4 weekend sessions per year). As we introduced ourselves before our afternoon activities I realized that all of us are struggling with different challenges in our teaching careers. I think that being apart of this cohort will really help me clarify what direction I want to go at the end of this year.

On to some yummy comfort foods served to us on white table cloths and a big fire after dinner as we worked on a visual journaling project. Tomorrow am we are hiking on an area trail as well as more outlets for artistic creativity. This place is cathartic, collaborative, and helps to define why part of my identity is so wrapped up in this profession. Thank you to Bill who is making these weekends possible. I wish I could say I want to see Beverly Hills Chihuahua tomorrow instead of being here, but I think I'll leave it to the boys for their weekend together.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

cover girl


My school newspaper came out earlier this week just in time for the election. I knew that my AP Gov class was the lead story about students getting involved in the political process, but I never expected to be the cover picture.

Today in class we had our final pre-election activity, a town hall meeting in which all students played a undecided voter from a swing state. I had made up phoney cover stories for each and they watched the 4 debates in character. So today we had black ranchers from Colorado, a hispanic elderly grandmother who had never voted before, and laid off autoworkers from Ohio all asking questions to my mock obama and mccain. We ended with a mock vote of the undecided and then real vote of the class and as expected we were tied down the middle on both.

I early voted today and am embarassed to admit I said a little prayer over my ballot and kissed it good bye before scanning it. Helping my kids better understand the politcial process this fall has been a highlight of my decade in teaching. Watching Obama tonight gave me so much hope for possibilities in the next four years. It was his "morning in america" moment and it made me proud to know that I cast my vote betting the house on optimism and a real change.

Monday, October 27, 2008

what holiday is it again?


busy, busy weekend at casa vinson. We enjoyed ben's fall festival Friday night at his school. Check out bill's video of him eating a cupcake. He talked about "the cake" from the minute we got there until he was going to bed. This child likes sweets WAY to much!

Saturday we spent the morning working on potty training and then went to our community fall event, hollyfest. Ben enjoyed petting the rabbits and goats. Mom "enjoyed" running into half of the school there before eating hotdogs with our neighbors.
Ben petting a rabbit and goat from Waking Badger on Vimeo.

We went to the babysteps halloween party on Saturday afternoon. I can't believe that all these little babies that once fit on one couch were all so grown up. Ben was not on his best behavior, but then we had already packed a whole weekend into the day and I think he sensed it when we were leaving. I always hate when other moms watch me get into "mean mommie" mode, but we've all been there so it's not like they can't comiserate.

We spent Sunday getting the house decorated for halloween, mowing the lawn, doing about a zillion loads of laundray, cooking for the week, and oh yeah finishing organizing our bedroom closet. One of my major tasks that I had yet to do and a jam packed weekend seemed the best time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

tales from the little potty-volume 2


It has been a crazy week with the quarter winding down with lots of projects and other grades to get finished at school. I have been battling a cold since Sunday so I don't feel as productive at home. But on the potty training front... full pee ahead!

Ben has been working with the potty training guru, Ms Esther, at school that swears by her method of "no pull ups". She is old school "big boy underwear only" regardless of how many accidents they have. Ben went twice on Monday in the school potty and was all too happy to show me his sticker chart in the bathroom.

At home, the minute we get home we get in potty mode. I strip him down to a shirt and his choice of underwear. Dora puts on her underwear and first sits on the potty while we are getting ready for dinner. Then ben sits on the potty while we read a book or look at a toy maganize that he loves.

Needless to say we have had many accidents, but HE IS GETTING IT! When he goes we do the potty dance all the way to the big potty and clap when it flushes away. Wish all it took to motivate me was a sticker and a potty dance.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fair Fun

We journeyed to the land of fried goods and pig races this morning with ben. We each rode a ride with Ben and then he rode one by himself. We ate way too much fair fare including roasted corn, candy apples, buttermilk biscuits. We checked out the cows and goats as well as the rabbit house. Ben espcially loved any place with hay to throw. We didn't make it to the tractor pull though as planned. We found out that it was 3 hours long and since ben of all mornings got up before 6am we knew we were pushing our luck. Check out our fun pictures! Yes, that is a giant Dora that ben begged for and Bill was a big softie and let him get! Fun Family Day!


Ben rings the bell for a prize! from Waking Badger on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Up by 23

Last debate tonight. As I hoped there were some testy exchanges. I was also happy they finally they hit on some of the issues I have wanted to hear: healthcare, reproductive rights, and education.

Bill commented early on that when they put the split screen up mccain looked fidgety, annoyed, and obsessed with the Joe the plumber analogy (guess he has traded up from Palin's Joe 6-pack). I think he looked like a desperate and tired old man to Obama's vibrant and cool appeal under pressure.

I mentioned to my friend that called during the debate that I am going to be a little sad when election day passes. I have loved following the drama of this election. Who would have thought that in the 4 years since he appeared at the 04 DNC convention that a dark horse would steal the thunder of so many established candidates.

How many times has the typically boring topics like how delegates work made headline news. Or that I lived in a toss-up state where the candidates actually stumped and not flew over to a more important state. Growing up a liberal in south carolina is akind to being seen as a godless socialist for most of my life, lving in good ol boy alabama was even worse. I simply never thought that that this day would ever come!

It is only a few elections in our lifetime that will be open seat elections with no incumbent running. With that, 2008 is about prospective voting like we have not seen in 50 years. It's exciting and for the first time in a long time, I am hopeful for my government both at home and our standing in the world.

I found myself tonight wondering what if the final match up had been different, what would the outcome have been? Clinton vs huckabee would have been fun to watch. So here's to the final days of this historic election. How glad that I have been here to experience it all. ok bill- who is going to win our new years prediction. I have obama up by 23 electoral votes. I have jewelry riding on this!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pop open a cool one.... toddler style


We tried on ben's halloween costume last night and needless to say he loved it. He had already slept with it on the hanger the night it came home (bad parenting #1 in this post). Bill had bought his this god-awful redneck hat at the beach that ben of course loved. I really wanted him to be something cute for one more year, but then I found the CARS jumpsuit costume and decided to make him and not me happy. I think he looks like he is one step away from working at Jiffy Lube.

Just before I caught this picture he was runnning full speed into me and yelling "crash". Kinda glad we are planning to see the tractor pull and NOT the demolition derby at the State Fair this weekend. Check out bill's post today with Video including Ben's homage to the Daily show (bad parenting #2)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Punkin' Farm Time



Ben talked about the "punkin" farm from the minute we told him we were going until we got home, where he then spliced talking about it with singing twinkle, twinkle little star. We went to the Granyard Farm on the suggestion of our friends the Case Family. It seemed closer than other farms plus gave us more pumpkin fun for our buck. We went with our friends the Scarborough family including thier exchanage student Ricarda.

Ben loved tramping through through the patch, feeding the animals, playing in the hay, and after inspecting and touching the wheels of the tractor agreed to get on the haywagon. Ben and Bill carved one of our pumpkins Sat night and ben was too proud of his accomplishment of helping scrap out the insides. Fun time had by all!


Ben & Katie sitting on pumpkins from Waking Badger on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Think Globally, Act Locally



Looking for a chance to feel good among the political attack ads and economic situation? Check out the awesome project that our National Honor Society chapter is taking on this year!

Over the summer the incoming president presented the that we roll all our service projects for the year into fundraising for the national organization Free The Children. Over the school year we are helping with a community haunted house, hosting a Battle of the High School bands, organizing a Christmas raffle with 100% of all fundraising going to Free The Children.

Our hope is to raise $8000 this school year. This would allow one school to be built in Sierra Leone providing much needed education to children trapped in this war torn county.

Please consider any gift you can give. On behalf of my 57 members we thank you for supporting us and improving the futures for a generation of children!

Monday, October 6, 2008

tales from the little potty


Ben did it! He not only pee peed in the daycare potty, he pooped in his own potty tonight. I am estatic that the first time for both would happen on the same day! When I got to school to pick him up his teacher met me at the door and had ben high five me telling me, "ben go potty, me sticker".

I don't know what is so different as we have been having him sit at home and look at books, but I think the peer pressure, amazement at big boy underwear, and a new pottytrained friend in class that he identifies with is helping START the transition. Plus his teachers are great at helping and supporting.

I know we are a long way away from fully being potty trained, but this is huge for us after months of total indifference. Last night while I was putting away his new big boy underwear, I couldn't help being a little sad that he is growing up way too fast. I need to live in the moment and remember these days for they are passing quickly into boyhood.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Roundup

It has been a busy weekend at Casa Vinson. The weather here is beautiful so we tried to take full advantage of being outside. Ben and I met friends at a local park on Saturday morning. The kids loved the playground, feeding the ducks, and enjoying a picnic lunch. Check of the video I took with Bill's new video camera, the Flip Mino video camera.



Saturday night our friends Larry and Heather K. came down for Settlers of Catan rematch. I unfortunately was creamed and didn't repeat my silent, sneaky victory from the first time we played this really fun game. I am a game freak (esp. board games and I'm serious that I will take you down over Candyland!

Today I got together with some friends in my neighborhood bookclub and we went to the Junior League Shopping Spree at the new Raleigh Convention Center. I bought a beautiful jacket, Jewelry cleaning set, and some Christmas gifts for friends/family. We had a fun time and I did much less damage to my pocketbook than last year. I have been working TOO hard this year with couponing and buying in bulk to blow it on yet another monogrammed something for myself (a real weakness, but I AM from South Carolina).

We ended the weekend at toys are us looking for a Thomas play tent and buying big boy underwear for ben. His teacher at school wants to try them on him next week during potty time as a new boy in his class has been showing him his big boy underwear and ben is enthralled.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bare Minimum

If the standard was the bottom of the barrel for screw ups on the national stage last night then YES Palin did do MUCH better than expected. She definitely won the folksy appeal to voters by making it the main substance of her 90 minutes. What I didn't hear was was SHE thinks, how she would lead (other than to say that the Constitution gives her much more power than is actually in Article II). I heard rehearsed, vapid answers that when she didn't know or want to answer a given question she returned to the practiced party line (usually adding a beauty pageant like wink).

So with that being said, did last night make a real difference? Did she pull more undecided voters into thier camp? With a little over 30days to go alot can still happen. I look for McCain to make more brash decisions like pulling out of MI that are so true to his Maverick nature. My friend Laura that I watched the debate with last night, made a great point that the economic relief that the Republicans always try to sell the middle class (usually wrapped in an American flag of values rhetoric) is never really attainable.

Tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and corporate America don't add to the workforce in the numbers promised. Trickle down economics has and never will work. It takes people who are vested in helping others by being willing to hand over a portion of their earnings to make a real difference (even if it means higher taxes). Unfortunately this is a tenant of the Democrats not the Republicans.

It is unfortunate that once again the Republicans are erroneously promoting themselves as champions of the middle class. Once again I am afraid that too many voters are going to vote who they want to have a beer with not lead the free world on election day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Feed My Mind, Feed My Soul

So this post is of interest to no one but me, but it was super awesome to be in the presence of most of the UNC Political Science dept last Saturday that it's worth writing about. I went to a lecture for teachers put on by the university in hopes of:

1. Getting free primary source material for class
2. Chance to hear one of my favorite professors from grad school days
3. To be around other teachers to collaborate
4. Kick Ass Topic- Realigning Elections through History- Impact of 2008

To sit in Dr. Leuchtenburg's presence was like like talking to God or maybe Tim Russert about his election predictions. This man has worked for all the major networks during his 50+ years as a professor and given election night results for many a drama-filled evenings. He is the Doris Kerns Goodwin in election polling results. To top it off he WORKED on the Truman campaign in 1948, and met the man (if you didn't know this I wanted my son's middle name to be in honor of my fav president, bill shot it down and instead got me a "buck stops here" sign for my desk). So I ask you does it get any better than this.... YES!!!!!!!!!

As I was sitting down I noticed someone I know from DPI (State Public School Agency). She knows my past work writing personal finance curriculum and also as an economics question writer for the State exam in Civics. We talked over lunch and she is forwarding my name on for consideration for a possible contract position that may open up next year to revise the state curriculum in Civics. Too Cool for School (my current school that is)!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do you know Joan Holloway?


Great article about women on TV and politics in today's local paper. I recently posted about the AMC show Mad Men. So if you need another reason to check out this now Emmy-winning show read the following:

"If you know about Joan you are likely part of the cultural elite that Palin's most devoted fans hate. As much as the show centres around a male-dominated AD agency in 1960's NY, the show is more about women, their work, their choices or lack thereof in workplace and in the home, and their judgements about one another as you learn of their intertangled relationships with the leading men on the show"

Joan is the middle ground between the women who are living the feminine mystique and those who are defying it in the workplace. She is smart, savvy, and when given the chance to fill in for one of the men on a recent episode she realizes how limiting women's roles were.

This is simply beautifully acted, styled, scripted TV that draws you into the story each and every week. Check this show out, you won't be disappointed in light of how much gender has circulated this national election.

Monday, September 29, 2008

little casanova

Bill and I are STILL laughing at ben from Sat night. As we were putting him to bed I asked him the typical bedtime questions:

Question from me or bill:- "Who does ben love"?

Answer: Ben love daddy and mommy

Who else? : Ben love cookies! Ben love doggies! Ben love Ben!

Then bill asked him if he could have a hug- ben hugged him with the book in between them and bill also had to hug the book seperately.

I asked Ben if I could have a kiss. He proceed to pull my face toward him and planted one on the lips.

Being that we were both shocked and wondered who he's been kissing at school. I asked him for another kiss and he the the same thing again.

When I picked him up today I asked who the lucky toddler was, and as I suspected he has a girlfriend that he holds hands with and was "caught" kissing inside the playhouse. Too sweet!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Girls, Interupted

My friend Chrissy and I had planned on taking our boys to the beach today for a long weekend. But the last minute bad weather made us postpone. Bummer, but the idea of packing 3 boys under the age of 5 into a small beachouse if it rained all weekend was not how either of wanted to spend time together. All is not lost thought, they are coming down tomorrow night to grill out and not going out of town freed me up to go to a lecture at UNC tomorrow that will be helpful for AP Gov.

Since I had already gotten a sub, made plans, and gotten caught up with work, I took the day off and enjoyed time away from work. I stayed later than normal at my book club last night and then today spent the morning with ben, then took him to school before running errand.

I made it to the gym, bloodwork at the lab, shopping for Halloween stuff, and then saw a new indie movie Transiberian at the Galaxy. Great engaging suspenful movie, but wished they had ended it about 15 until the end. Needless to say I don't think it did anything for the Siberian tourist industry even with Ben Kinsley as a lead). Now I'm about to settle in and watch the debate in my pjs. I should do this more often!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We need a new alphabet

One of my favorite Daily Show pieces honoring Bush as the ultimate Lame Duck, did A-Z screw ups. They actually filled all 26 by letter, so with that said the news of a 700 billion bailout of wall street I think this news of economic woes not seen since the great depression takes the cake as a final parting gift of the bush dynasty.

As a former loan officer for a commercial bank for 4 years this hits home. I routinely denied customers who were credit risks as during the 1990's this was the standard-THEN. Not so in the last 8 years. This American Life did a great piece explaining how the whole housing crisis was set up in layman's terms. As I am trying to make up my mind if I really want to pay to bail out wall street exec and sleazy loan providers looking to make a profit on the ignorant, reward people who lived WAY beyond their means, and oh yeah- thank an administration that gaffed at the thought of regulation. If there has ever been a time to understand monetary and fiscal policy, it's now... hope you didn't sleep through that day in my class!

It's not like my family is going to get a bailout for the thousands we have lost in our stocks, 401k accounts, and ben's 529 plan since this started. I should feel compassion as there are many innocent people who will/have lost everything, but instead I am dumbfounded that once again I feel swindled by my leaders.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Must See TV!

Had to get my celeb fix on Sunday night and watched the emmys. Actaully I really like the bad E shows that trash thier dresses the day after but I digress. So my friend laura posted about the shows she's watching this fall. Thought I would throw my hat in with my favorties.

Here's my list of what I watching this season (never when it orginally came on thanks to tivo)

Sunday- Meet the Press, 60 minutes, Cold Case, Amazaing Race-missed last few seasons, MAD Men (LOVE this show, one of my fav right now), thinking of getting into Brothers/Sisters (anything by the thirysomeing team)

Monday- Daily Show/Colbert Report, How I met your Mother, American Experience-PBS

Tuesday- Daily/Colbert, Frontline-PBS (this is like crack to me-love to use it in class)

Wed- Daily/Colbert, may pick up 30 Rock with all the emmy attention

Thursday- Daily/Colbert, Office, CSI, maybe ER (havn't really watched it in a few seasons but it's the last one)

Friday- Daily/Colbert, Real Time with Bill Maher, Best Week Ever

When they come on HBO with new seasons- Curb Your Enthunsiam (even the theme music makes me laugh, my brother and I do Larry David-offs with lines) and In Treatment once it comes back in late 2009. I really loved this show's 1st season, character development is as good in comparison to my all time fav TV show Six Feet Under

Happy watching if you love any of these shows too!

Badgers Rock!

Happy 14 years together today. Who would have thought that a last minute fix up for the Sept 23rd, 1994 pledge bash would have lead to all this? It's funny that I really don't remember what life was like before you were part of it. It's almost like you are an appendage. Our decision to start a family was too long in the making. Watching you be a dad to ben has only made me love you more. Thanks for being on my side and being the first person I want to text when a fight breaks out in my class- thanks yesterday :-)

Badgers Rock (especially little ones that look like their dad)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

potty time!

and so it begins... the long march towards being diaper-free. When I picked up Ben on Tuesday last week his teacher told me excitedly that Ben had been telling others, "get off, me potty" and proceeded to sit down fully clothed on the potty. This is major news as everyday this summer when asked to sit the answer was a quick NO! So I picked up a little potty from BRU on Wednesday as the potty seat I had I think is part of the problem of being scared of the big potty.

He has now sat 2 of the last 3 nights in the dining room reading a book and talking about sitting on a potty. Cars and Spiderman stickers are ruling the day. Nothing in the potty yet, but I'm ecstatic!

On the weekend front, it's been good. My mom and brother drove up on Friday and were here most of today. They enjoyed playing with Ben while I plowed through a bunch of AP work and a stack of College/Scholarship Recs I was asked to write. We went to the park too and ran into my friend Ellen and her family which was nice to catch up too. good day :-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

swan song

This should be no big suprise to anyone who knows me but this is likely the end of the road for teaching for me. I will save the long version for a later post but I am treating this year and my AP Gov class in particular as my swan song in teaching. I am trying to make it the class that I thought teaching would be about when I entered this profession a decade ago, the one that I work, prepare endless number of hours for, and frankly trade a piece of myself everyday to teach.

With that said, an email exchange between friends earlier today about the election made me think about what I hope my kids are getting from me. In her email she detailed feeling like in a particular class she always felt on the defensive as the teacher didn't check her bias at the door.

I do truly hope that I have done my students (1000+ now) right and from my classes they have learned to think for themselves (my opinion isn't relevant is a favorite statement I make), understand why their voice matters in our Government, and most of all that on the most basic level I welcomed them everyday with what I had to give them.

This last statement applies especially to the many sections of freshmen I have taught for whom making class a welcoming respite from the drama of high school seems to be more important than the content being taught.

I love what I do but I need a break from the bureaucracy that comes with it. So in that vein, I am giving this year what I have left in hopes that my original intentions will find an audience.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pint-sized ricky bobby

Decided to hit Toys r Us and Party City on my way to chapel hill this afternoon. I wound up getting a 10 gift card for buying diapers already on sale with manufacturer coupons no less, plus I talked them into taking a $5 of 25 baby purchase too! I am the coupon/sale queen today.

I found too cute race car Halloween costumes at both places. Voila! Halloween solved. Ben is obsessed, to the point of a toddler crack addition with the movie Cars. We watch it at some point each weekend. Bill's greatest fear is coming true- that his son will one day become Ricky Bobby. We just bought tickets to a tractor pull while the state fair is here... yes it's that bad!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A house not divided


Start to a busy week. Lots of meetings, open house on Tuesday, guest speaker in AP and my mom and brother are driving up later in the week. We had a good weekend overall and I am proud that except for most of today, I didn't spend it on school work.


We went to the Durham Life and Science Saturday morning for the Star Wars exhibit. It was a little disappointing. We kept running into people Bill had worked with at Motricity and for him it was good to hear where everyone had moved on to. How telling that it would be a Star Wars Event to bring everyone out. Ben loved the train, animals, and running free especially.


We had a great date night and hope to TRY and make it more frequent. It so seems like we only spend time on the day to day stuff dealing with juggling work and family, that we forget that we were once just us pre-ben. Here's to making each other laugh and all the other things that keep us together. I will have to say I love talking and not fighting for once about politics. We have gotten matching Obama car magnets!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

If he comes out of the coma....

Bill and I kept with tradition tonight and saw the new Cohen Brothers movie, Burn After Reading in an actual theater. Great story and well developed (in this case over the top characters). It was kinda like Fargo and Raising Arizona with a little A Simple Plan mixed into one. It was a comedy, compared the the un-funny in every way but so awesome No County for Old Men earlier this year, but in keeping with their movies dark vein of humor and plot twists (no woodchippers, but there are a few untimely deaths). I won't spoil the ending, but needless to say, God help if anything portrayed by the CIA is true! Total Agency Point of View!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pass the corn nuts and take off that paper hat

Went to a baby shower over the weekend and felt the need to express how I feel about them in the most cynical way I can. Granted I am thankful for the 4 showers we had pre-Ben, including one that was suppose to happen the day I wound up having ben (good planning, men at bill's work). My favorite was a toss up between the one my 7/8th period classes gave me that involved eating Popsicles and opening gifts meant for a 10 year old. Or the one that our friends threw us a couples shower at which due to the soaking rain people stayed 6 hours playing drinking games by the end. Chrissy knowing me well, got every tacky, kitschy baby themed decoration just to piss me off. It looked like babies r us had thrown up on her house.

So in that vein here is my list of really bad baby shower themes: Salute to Speed Metal, Name That Spit up, Who can Drink a Baby Bottle the Fastest (have actually played this), It's too Late to Turn Back Now, and my personal favorite, come Dressed as your Favorite President (my students actually wanted to do this).

If I have my way, a baby shower for any future little v's will involve no bears, bows, ducks and instead include good conversation, food, and hopefully 80's movie a thon. Bring it on Better Off Dead, Pump Up the Volume, and of course Heathers!

Monday, September 8, 2008

reality check

I talked to both of my contacts out of our local McCain and Obama campaigns today as they are coming to speak to my student about the political process over the next weeks (my kids wanted them to debate each other, but we are not going there). I am trying hard for equal time for both sides and have made it extra credit to volunteer 20 hours.

In the course of conversation's several very scary comments were made:

McCain contact- "yeah, since palin's speech we have had people in/out asking for bumpers tickers and asking how they can get involved, like 10 people an hour not 10 people a day like pre-convention" She has really brought people to us.

Obama contact- (I asked him what the response had been to the convention in the local office and the VP pick especially). "This was a total curve ball and the whole campaign from the top down is changing strategy. They really got a better post convention bump that we did and we are bleeding women to them".

Sunday, September 7, 2008

the sweet spot

Proud to announce that I stuck to my limit of time to work on school stuff this weekend. Bill and I have been swapping off blocks of time over the weekend so we both get some down time plus ben time. Minus the meltdown during dinner out last night, it was a great weekend.

With my downtime I: went to the gym, watched a weeks worth of Daily shows/Colbert reports with bill (fri night ritual), put together power point lectures for AP GoPo and uploaded Friday Debate stuff on my wiki, went to a baby shower for a friend, read the Sunday paper, watched Meet the press and 60 minutes along with the final episodes of season 3 nip/tuck, and met up with a friend at her pool to let the kids play, only to find several other friends already there :-)

I'm trying hard to find the sweet spot of balancing family and work, and this weeked it happened.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

momma's sweet ride

I have 3 new friends: Stations Lucy, Fred, and Ethel. I think I like most about the new car we bought over labor day weekend is the XM stereo. I have fallen in love with 3 alternative stations that remind me of 99x in Atlanta. I have heard songs from bands l used to love in my days of youth- shout out to new order, the smiths, depeche mode, and death cab for cutie.

Bill has been on me all summer to go test drive some possible replacements since my Accord is now almost 9 years with a triple cracked windshield and a sound under the car that reminds me of dragging a dead body. We had decided on a 2nd CVR as we love bill's and it's a great size for us with Ben and maybe a 2nd little v. I test drove one on the Florida trip, and bill did when I got home. We considered the green or silver (not bill's infamous "fecal mist" color that he currently has), but didn't want a cream interior. So we went with the red with gray leather interior. It has a navigation system, ipod hook up, and media card that I can load up from my computer.

What is really funny is that my friend Elizabeth has the same car. When she told me she had bought the exact same car we took were considering, I said that this is evidence we were meant to be friends. Ben is still calling the new car, "katie car, where katie"?

I really love this car and nothing was better when I was on the way to chapel hill last Wednesday that driving with the sunroof open, music blaring like I was 18, and driving too fast on the interstate like pre-ben days. Sweet!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Double Date with Karl Rove

Oh Republicans why am I not surprise that you would pull out a a week of unity and shore up your base. Watching your keynote addresses as well as your response early in the week to a potential hurricane, you have done it again. I would so love to have dinner with Karl Rove to ask how he and the RNC machine can take a political party in dispair and somehow pull out a feel good, faith in my govt, leaders to represent the common-man pageant again and again. I have respect for this even though I would personally like to stab you with my fork (would bring bill to restrain me).

The Republicans can do this better than any other group I have ever seen and this week is proof. Watching Sarah Palin made me shiver to think, "what if people really believe her show of family support, stretching the truth about her experience, and hockey mom appeal ". As always the RNC waves the bloody flag patriotism and made terrorism, energy, and Iraq central to their argument for giving them 4 more years. I loved the daily show's real theme for the convention, "give us one more chance, we promise not to F*** this up".

So along comes the next 60 days to watch who will battle for the undecided voter and can play the middle class sympathy card better. I can only hope Americans will not fall for the bait and switch that has defined the last 8 years.

Friday, August 29, 2008

In case of death, the stewardess can take over...

I have to credit bill maher tonight with this comment. Is John McCain smoking crack, no seriously, is he? My AP gov kids came in today with the news and I literally had to say "who" ? We immediately threw the lesson out the door and flew with what does she bring to the RNC table. She is the Governor of Alaska, pop 600,000 and a whopping THREE electoral votes. She from the state that has given us Mike Gravel and Ted Stevens. Yes, I played both sides, it you can said there is another side in the debate today.

Does McCain really think that women will flock to her just because she has 5 kids, including an infant with downs- how will the media spin that for god's sake, that her husband is a "real man" who owns a fishing company, she's in bed with Big Oil, and that she is Pro-Gun, Pro-Drilling, and Pro-Life.

Is she a cheap ploy to win over disgruntled Hillary voters? What a slap in the face to think that balancing the ticket with a women, we will flock to her. Who is doing his research? Not anyone from the last 8 years who have spun disaster after disaster into some type of slick Teflon image that lead to total avoidance of responsibility.

So in 24 hours, I have been moved to tears watching Obama accept the nomination and literally almost uttering what the hell at McCain's choice. I can only wait for the debates, Sarah Palin is going to make Dan Quayle into the smartest VP choice ever.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I can forgive a pumpkin suit


oh hillary, why did you choose to look like the great pumpkin last night. I will forgive you as I have spent the last 24 hours thanking you for doing what only you could to bring your supporters into the tent. Watching you announce obama as the nominee during roll call tonight was both sad for what could have been, but also exciting to think of how much is to come.

Working with my AP kids has been exactly where I want to put my energy this fall. We had a great discussion today about the candidates views on patriotism and the way the DNC vs RNC will portray themselves as united over the next two weeks. It's not about flag pins or vapid rhetoric, it's about who gets to sit at the table and lead this country on the world stage. I want to have faith again the subject I love to teach. Watching Michelle Obama nail why she is proud of her country echos the type of administration that is sorely needed.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Come On, Fox News

Coverage of the breaking news of Obama picking Biden as VP on all other networks- Biden as a past presidential contender twice and his long service in the Senate.

Coverage on Fox- usual "playboy bunny blonde" talking head about his aneurysms and if he would he die in office. At this point he needs a pick a 12 year old as a running mate to deflect his age. It's going be a Barn Burner!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

90 days?

Has been a long day as we had open house from 6-8 after being at school all day. Ben climbed on a table and jumped off in the middle of the cafeteria while I was organizing my NHS student guides to my fear. So I have made an agreement with my husband that I will get myself on some type of schedule this fall that allows me not to work at night from when I get ben in bed until often midnight on school related stuff. I added up that I work typically 60-70 hours per week and he has pleaded with me to find some balance.

So I am asking all my friends to also keep me honest that I can get disciplined and implement the following personal schedule.

Monday- School 6:45-3, meetings until 5, up to one hour at home
Tuesday- School 6:45-3, leave early go to the gym, can do up to 2 hours of work at home
Wednesday- School 6:45-3, appointment every other week in chapel hill, gym on alternate week, only one hour at home
Thursday- School 6:45-3, Late day for required student tutorials at school will work until 5 at school, none at home
Friday- School 6:45-3, get ben early for an afternoon with him. No work tonight!

Weekends- up to 4 hours somehow including going to school if open, try to hit the gym both days

Evaulate in 90 school days if this is what I want to be doing with my energy-